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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 9, 2006 / 17 Tishrei, 5767

Opportunity lost

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The economists have a term for it: opportunity cost — the benefits forgone when an investor puts his capital into one project rather than another. His choice may prove profitable, but another choice might have been even more so — and so he's lost the difference between the two. That's the opportunity cost, and it can be measured not just in dollars but in time or energy or anything else of value.


Politicians, like the rest of us, make much the same mistake when, given a chance to score political points, they seize the moment and exploit it for all it's worth, or rather for what they think it's worth. Actually they might gain something incalculably more by declining the opportunity to engage in a little cheap drama — and instead serve their fellow citizens by raising the level of public discourse, and win a place in history. That is true greatness.


There will always be those who think it's foolish to miss any opportunity to lambaste the opposition. Their philosophy: A soft word turneth away the voters. Every chance for a sound bite must be seized.


Let's hope there will also be those who try to rise above the fray to see farther, think more clearly and act more honorably.


It's the difference between a ring-tailed roarer like Howard Dean — the perpetual and now professional partisan — and a quiet thinker like Connecticut's Joe Lieberman, who's willing to speak unwelcome truths even to his own, inflamed party. And be willing to pay the price for it in a party primary.


It's the difference between a Joe McCarthy and an Adlai Stevenson. Let it be noted that Gov. Stevenson paid the usual price for thoughtfulness and eloquence in a televised age; he lost his race for the presidency in 1952.


(And in 1956, too, by which time he'd learned the cost of talking sense to the American people and was content to just repeat catch phrases, which availed him even less.) But in the presidential campaign of '52, he was still introducing novelties like reason and eloquence into, of all things, an American presidential race.


Some criticized Adlai Stevenson that year for "speaking over the heads of the American people" when he was only trying to get us to look up. Looking back, it's even clearer that one needn't have agreed with the gentleman from Illinois to admire his faith in the American people, and in the power of reason.


When a red-in-the-face Bill Clinton tells off an interviewer on Fox News, he may fire up his party's long frustrated base, and win the plaudits of those partisans who made up their minds long ago. About everything. But his little tizzy cost him more than his dignity. While reveling in the chance to tell off his critics, he lost an opportunity to raise the level of public discourse.


Amid all the finger-pointing rage and the kind of selective history that's good mainly for rhetorical purposes, reason evaporates. Bill Clinton's attack was followed predictably enough by counter-attacks, and what might have been a meaningful debate about the future gave way to one more rehash of the past. Given an opportunity to address the next generation, the former president seemed interested only in making points for the next election, or maybe the one after that. Which seemed the extent of his vision.


Much the same goes for George W. Bush when he responds to provocative questions at his news conference not by trying to raise the level of discussion but by going after the questioner. The president is less than presidential at such moments. With the result that the case he should be making — the case for going after terrorism on its home ground, for expanding democracy in the Middle East, for victory instead of drift — goes unmade.


And so another opportunity to raise the level of public discourse is lost, replaced by partisan slogans. Labels take the place of thought: cut-and-run, stay-the-course fill in your own cliche. Meanwhile, the appeal to reason goes unmade.


Other leaders have appealed to high principle at other critical times, well knowing the price they would pay. Nevertheless, they chose to pursue the opportunity to make a difference in history, to shape it rather than be shaped by it.


Think of the despised Churchill of the 1930s, that low, sordid decade, who dared warn of the gathering storm even if it meant he would be ignored — at least until he was sorely needed.


Think of the then unpopular Harry Truman, who chose to stand fast in Korea ("Truman's War") rather than either withdraw or turn that conflict into a world war while his presidential term drained away in frustration.


Think of how Ronald Reagan was ridiculed and railed against when he foresaw a world without the Soviet Union, and dared call that regime the evil empire it was.


Even in the midst of a congressional election that promises much heat, little light and even less honor, every press conference, every public appearance, every political speech presents every national leader with an opportunity to raise the level of public discourse. Each time our politicians choose to debase it instead — in order to please the crowd, or just to serve their own egos — they pay the cost. They lose the opportunity to mark the history of these times with their honor.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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